Monday, November 17, 2008

Joshua Gans and our Internet community

I wanted to briefly record this one, in part so that I did not lose the reference, in part because I know that there is an interest in our immediate blogging world in research related to blogs and blogging.

In Blogging and piracy Professor Joshua Gans refers to a new academic paper discussing blogging. The post includes a link to the paper. I have yet to read the paper. However, it appears to use the livejournal community as a base, concluding that content rich blogs blogs attract more attention and links because of content, whereas less content rich blogs need to pay more attention to cite and discuss others so as to maintain status. Here the paper apparently makes a distinction between readers (content rich) and friends (links, cross-comments, etc).

I am sure that this is right. However, we also need to take into account the reason for blogging. While all bloggers are interested in things like their Technorati ranking (bloggers are human), to many bloggers it is the friends and interaction that makes blogging worthwhile, not the creation of content as such.

I follow what I think of as our blogging community quite closely. As part of this, I consciously track through comments and cross-links, watching the evolution of the community. Most recently we have seen the addition of a set of new bloggers who have added a new texture. I have picked this up in my material, as has Neil through his Shared Items.

I have used the term village many times to describe the process. In a personal sense, I do not think of the internet world as a mass. I cannot comprehend one hundred million blogs. Instead, I think in terms of people, each with their own unique features.

I can understand Tikno's flood, I may not agree with Ramana's sometimes negative view on the human condition, but I can see his viewpoint, I really laughed at Ben's descriptions of Bachelor's Day. Then, too, I had to withdraw from a discussion with Arthur Vandelay because I found that I wanted to argue, not discuss.

I cannot objectively say that our evolving village is in any way unique, although I think that in some ways it may be because of its breadth of views and the importance placed on manners. I can say that it makes an interesting study, one worthy of a paper in its own right. Certainly it makes for a fascinating sociological or anthropological study.


At Tikno's suggestion, I have added Google Translate to the side-bar to make material on this blog more accessible to those speaking other languages.

I am not sure why I did not do this before. I think the first time I thought of doing this, the number of languages covered was still very limited, the translations very odd. My thanks, Tikno, for the prompt.


Anonymous said...

I quite like the idea of calling some blog communities as villages.

As the Professor says, economics of reciprocal attention may well influence some kinds of blogs, but I agree with you that there can be other motivating factors, like your blog or mine or Tikno's.

Jim Belshaw said...

We all write for different reasons, Ramana, and that is of course part of the fun. The second phrase I often use to describe the blogging world is the university of blogging because (as I see it) being a blogger is very like going to a university.

Tikno said...

This is an interesting topic about blogosphere phenomena. In this opportunity, let me share my personal observation (feelings), as follows:

1) Like what you said in this post, I also seeing most blogger only thinking (very) about their page rank instead of contents.

2) Some blogger had the BAD principle like this: "If you comment, I follow. If not, I'm not too".

3) Some blogger only do blog-walking from one blog to another continuously and leave its track through Shoutmix widget. With the hope others blog-walking will visiting their blog. I think this is not bad but....??

4) Some people blogging for friendship and just fun.

5) Some people with the aim to sharing thought and do blogging activity (or browsing) to find another news or idea.

However, all depend on each person aim when create a blog.

This post adding my comprehension about blogging, and I ask myself of what blogging are for? Thanks for sharing.

I'm your regular visitor, although not giving my comment to each post. At each opportunity, I browse this blog archive and read it with the same manner like reading a newspaper. Moreover, I already went to your first post which it posted 2 years ago.

By the way, I suggest you to add a widget for translating this blog's contents automatically (it's free). It is not impossible that your reader come from other countries and did not understand English. You may try it at my blog (on upper-right) and see how it works.

Jim Belshaw said...

What a nice compliment, Tikno. All writers like to think that their past work will not be completely forgotten. And thanks, too, for the translation suggestion. I have already actioned this.

I thought that you captured the key blogging elements pretty well in terms of your own response. There are so many blogs that none of can follow even a tiny proportion. I know that I am missing a lot of good writing.

From my viewpoint there is a real issue in writing vs reading. The more time I spend writing, the less time I have for reading and contributing to discussion on other people's blogs.

Like you, I dislike those who "If you comment, I follow. If not, I'm not too". However, I am also conscious sometimes that my focus on my own writing means that I am not making sufficient contribution to others, because this is central to the development and maintenance of a sense of community.

Another thing that I am very conscious of is that I do not know whom my regular readers are. I know some, but not all. It's not a big group, but I do value them.

Tikno said...

I like your blog and have added into my "Friends Bogroll" list. Just clik it to read your post.

Jim Belshaw said...

Thank you, Tikno. Much appreciated.